The Dourados Experiment: Integrated crop-livestock System
The test the efficiency and environmental profit by adopting integrated systems compared to conventional or less complex-systems.
The 25-ha experimental area was divided into plots where the following systems were used: a conventional system (CS) consisting of a soybean (Glycine max (L.) Merr.) monoculture followed by oats (Avena strigosa Schreb. or Avena sativa L.) under conventional soil tillage using a disk harrow every growing season; a no-till system (NTS) using a crop rotation including soybeans and corn (Zea mays L.) grown during the summer and wheat (Triticum aestivum L.), oat or turnip (Raphanus sativus L. var. oleiferus Metzg.) as cover crops, without soil tillage; an integrated crop-livestock system (ICLS) rotating every two years between crop species (soybean and oat) and pasture grass (Urochloa decumbens syn. Brachiaria decumbens Stapf) under no-till cultivation, with pastures grazed by heifers whose stocking rate was adjusted to ensure a constant forage supply of approximately 7% of body weight; and a permanent pasture (PP) consisting of B. decumbens grazed according to the same management strategy used in the ICLS.
Oxisol (kaolinitic with clay, silt, and sand contents of 630, 215 and 155 g kg−1, respectively)
humid subtropical climate
Cwa: a mesothermal, humid climate with hot summers and dry winters
Design period: Main period (1995—)
Demonstration strip design
Since the area had homogeneous soil and environmental conditions, the experiment was installed within large plots (2–4 ha per treatment), would make possible collection of all types of system data while allowing superposition of a geostatistical layer grid for use of geoprocessing tools. All soil and plant samples were collected using this grid of equidistant points spaced 30 m apart
Integrated crop-livestock system in tropical Brazil: Toward a sustainable production system